Craig Harrison reveals why he won’t force team spirit at Hartlepool United

Pools boss Craig Harrison. Picture by Frank Reid.
Pools boss Craig Harrison. Picture by Frank Reid.

Team spirit will be vital to Hartlepool United’s hopes of instant promotion to the National League.

So says manager Craig Harrison, who insists he will let the atmosphere grow naturally rather than trying to force it.

Pools have only been back at work for a week, Harrison enjoying his first sessions with the squad.

When the 39-year-old took the reins at Victoria Park, he spoke about his squad all being on the “same page” and “rowing in the same direction”.

He wants the best possible squad and has already worked hard on that front, bringing six new signings to the Vic.

Scott Loach, Blair Adams, Luke George, Jake Cassidy, Ryan Donaldson and Jack Munns have all been successfully integrated at the Maiden Castle training ground.

While 12 players have left the relegated club over the summer, a sizeable contingent have remained.

And Harrison explained that spirit evolves ands can’t be manufactured.

“Spirit is important with as many new players and you have to create the best environment possible and let it take care of itself,” said the former The New Saints manager.

“If you push it then it becomes false, so, when your backs are against the wall, it would be worth nothing.

“It has to be genuine

“You can’t manufacture it, it needs to grow, all we can do is build an environment for it to thrive.”

Harrison enjoyed great success at TNS, where consistency was the key.

So has the large number of signings, with one or two more possibly on the way, been a new experience for the ex-Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace defender?

“We have 95 per cent in and it’s down to me to bring it together as quick as I can,” he said.

“My first full season at TNS, I brought five or six in, so this is similar.”

Pools are entering their second week of six of pre-season preparations.

Aside from the daily graft at Maiden Castle, there will be two significant days.

Pools will get to know their National League programme on Wednesday when the fixtures are announced, around the 1pm mark.

And the following day, Harrison will get to see his players out on the field when Pools visit Northern League club Billingham Town in the opening friendly of the summer.

The manager is likely to take a large squad to Bedford Terrace, where he may take the opportunity to change the entire XI at half-time.